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For moms with young children, getting out the door in the morning can be the most challenging part of the day. But what if there was a way to remove the stress and streamline your morning—simply by changing what you say?

The power of positive parenting (and a great pair of shoes your kids love) can get you there. We partnered with Rack Room Shoes and Wendy Snyder, founder of Fresh Start Family Online, a Positive Parenting teacher and family coach, to create these 15 phrases that can help avoid morning clashes, finally get their shoes on and get you all out the door in peace.

WATCH: 5 easy school morning hacks

1. “Team __________, Unite and Engage!”

Take a break from: "Get in the car, NOW!"

Example: "Team Snyder Stars, Unite and Engage! The time to conquer on time arrival to school is now!"

Explained: In a calm time (not when you're rushed), explain how your family is a small, but mighty team, who together can accomplish anything you set your minds to. Then choose a fun team name and reference it to get everyone fired up to contribute and succeed.

2. “Remember our agreement about our morning plan?”

Take a break from: "I am so sick of having to do everything for you, get up and make your bed or else... !"

Example: "Hey guys, remember last night when we agreed we'd all do our part to have a peaceful morning instead of a stressful tear-filled start to our day? What did we all agree to do this morning?"

Explained: Kids do really well with agreements, especially if they have a strong need to feel powerful (a healthy human need that many strong-willed kids have). Involving our kids with agreements helps them to feel valued and feel like they belong (2 basic human needs). Positive parenting curriculum, like that found in The Foundations Course, teaches parents that when our children's basic needs are met, their desire to misbehave decreases.

3. “I need your help! I can’t do this alone. Can you please give me a hand?”

Take a break from: "There is NO WAY I'm going to raise entitled kids who don't do their part. Get up and do what you're told now."

Example: "Kiddos, I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed right now and need everyone to chip in and help so we can have a peaceful departure."

Explained: When we are honest with our kids and let them know that we NEED their help to get out the door on time, we help them understand what true teamwork looks like. Most kids respond incredibly well when they are asked in a kind way to help. The key is to kindly ask with a vulnerable heart vs. demand with rigidity.

Another way to help them feel ownership without added pressure? Let them pick their shoes. With Rack Room Shoes' assortment of colorful styles your kids will love to put them on each morning, Choose a style like slip-ons or with closures like elastic laces or velcro) that they can do themselves—one thing off your to-do list, mama!

4. “Everyone has a job, let’s do this family... we’ve got this!”

Take a break from: "I'm so sick of doing everything, why can't you just do what's asked of you, so we can get out the door?"

Example: "Stella, you are great at encouraging us to not be late and Terrin you are always good at keeping us laughing. Mom will pack lunches, Dad will walk the pup, Stella, you watch the clock and Terrin, please be the music DJ. We need to be pulling away at 7 am family—we've got this!"

Explained: Helping kids feel powerful causes them to cooperate with us because they want to, not because they HAVE to. When we explain how they each add unique value to our family, our kids feel empowered and capable of helping the family reach goals (like getting out the door peacefully!).

5. “Stop, breathe, now try again, what do you need support with?”

Take a break from: "Stop whining and just get your shoes on so we can leave! I can't understand you when you talk like a baby."

Example: "Michael, let's pause and breathe together (actually pausing to model deep breaths)... now tell me what you need support with so I can help you."

Explained: Getting out the door each morning can be stressful for us all, so take a moment to slow down and use empathy to imagine what it must feel like to be your little person who is seeing the world as rushed, overwhelming, frustrating and hard. Offer support to guide them onward so they can move through the steps necessary to get out the door on time!

To avoid morning meltdowns, give them a choice between two things (like their sandals or their sneakers). They still feel some control over getting out the door, but it will take a lot less time than rifling through their entire closet. Plus, with Rack Room Shoes family friendly prices, it's easy to give everyone a few options.

6. “Would you like to sit down now and have time to eat breakfast at the table or continue to play for 10 minutes and eat your breakfast in the car?”

Take a break from: "I'm not going to tell you again, sit down and eat NOW or no screen time tonight!"

Example: "We need to leave at 7 am AND we need to eat breakfast, so you can either eat your breakfast at the table or in the car, which one do you choose?"

Explained: Kids have lots they want to do before school or camp, so use this opportunity to teach them about time management and also about being flexible with the rules. Putting breakfast in tupperware or giving them a simple granola bar and banana on the way to school can save you from a lot of "trying to force a sit down breakfast" power struggles!

7. “We need to kick it into high gear, should we move fast like a racehorse or speedy like a fire truck driver?"

Take a break from: "Why do you dilly dally so much? Stop dragging your feet, you are driving me nuts!"

Example: "It's 'go time' family, do you want to be a racehorse or fire truck driver to get us to the car fast?"

Explained: Children absolutely love playful analogies so use animals, race cars, fire trucks, athletes & cartoon characters to motivate them!

8. “Have you finished your chart?”

Take a break from: "Put your shoes on, brush your teeth, make your bed, fill up your water bottle, pack your bag, pick up your room, etc."

Example: "Please go check your morning chart and see what you still need to do."

Explained: Studies have shown that by the time kids get to elementary school, they often are given up to 1,000 compliance statements a day. This definitely wears on kids, especially kids who have a strong desire to lead. In a calm time, make a "morning routine chart" with your kids and use pictures or writing to list out the steps necessary for everyone to get out the door each morning on time!

9. “It’s important to me we are on time, so I need everyone to do their part to help us be successful.”

Take a break from: "If we're late one more time, I am NOT going to be happy!"

Example: "I care about arriving to school before the bell rings because I feel embarrassed when we have to go through the office, so I need your help so we can be there on time."

Explained: When we honestly share WHY we have firm rules around morning departure times, our kids are more likely to respect our boundaries and requests. Take the time to explain to them why being on time is important to you and respect for the timeline will come more naturally!

10. “I’m going to start the car and get the Moana soundtrack going. Grab your shoes and meet me there!”

Take a break from: "If you don't walk out the front door right now, so help me, things are going to get really ugly!"

Example: "I'm all ready, so I'll meet you in the car. I'll get the music and A/C going."

Explained: Oftentimes, more action, fewer words will get us great results with getting our children to get out of the house. This can work really well when you feel yourself butting heads with your child and want to avoid a full-blown power struggle with them. This takes patience, but it's a great way to get kids to move without nagging, yelling, threatening, or forcing them to comply.

11. “Can you please be in charge of the clock?"

Take a break from: "I have to do everything around here and I'm sick of being the time police, I said NOW!"

Example: "Mary, you love being on time as much as me, could you please be the boss of the clock and give us a whistle or chime the bell when it's 6:55 am?"

Explained: Putting kids in charge and giving them big jobs causes many kids to listen better and cooperate more. Children love to lead and when given the opportunity to help, they love to do so!

12. “Shoes, please,” (with kind physical touch & friendly eye contact), then, “car, please

Take a break from: "I've asked you three times now to get on your shoes... why can't you just put on your shoes like a big boy, you're 5 years old and should be able to put on your shoes without me asking you a gazillion times."

Example: "Breakfast." or "Teeth."

Explained: Reducing our verbal communication and combining our words with a neutral tone and soft physical touch often does wonders to inspire our kids to take action!

13. “Do you guys think we can beat our 'out the door time' from last week?”

Take a break from: "Hurry up, hurry up, hurry up!"

Example: "I'll push go on the iPhone timer, do you think we can all get in the car faster than we did yesterday? Under 5 minutes after we finish breakfast?"

Explained: Kids love games and learn incredibly well through play! Without creating competition amongst one another, time yourself as a team, then try daily to beat your own time.

Looking for more advice? Step into a Rack Room Shoes store near you or shop online. With a "Buy One, Get One 50% off" policy, you can make sure the whole family will put their best foot forward this back-to-school season.

This article is sponsored by Rack Room Shoes. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and moms.

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As a mid-Spring holiday, we never knew exactly what to expect from the weather on Easter when I was growing up in Michigan: Would we get to wear our new Sunday dresses without coats? Or would we be hunting for eggs while wearing snowsuits?

Although what the temperature had in store was really anyone's guess, there were a few special traditions my sister and I could always depend on—and it won't come as a surprise to anyone who knows me that my favorite memories revolved around food. After all, experts say memories are strongest when they tie senses together, which certainly seems to be true when it comes to holiday meals that involve the sounds of laughter and the taste of amazing food.

Now that I'm a parent, I'm experiencing Easter anew as my children discover the small delights of chocolate, pre-church brunch and a multi-generational dinner. While I still look forward to the treats and feasting, I'm realizing now that the sweetest thing of all is how these traditions bring our family together around one table.

For us, the build-up to Easter eats is an extended event. Last year's prep work began weeks in advance when my 3-year-old and I sat down to plan the brunch menu, which involved the interesting suggestion of "green eggs and ham." When the big morning rolled around, his eyes grew to the size of Easter eggs out of pure joy when the dish was placed on the table.

This year, rather than letting the day come and go in a flash, we are creating traditions that span weeks and allow even the littlest members of the family to feel involved.

Still, as much as I love enlisting my children's help, I also relish the opportunity to create some magic of my own with their Easter baskets—even if the Easter Bunny gets the credit. This year, I'm excited to really personalize the baskets by getting an "adoptable" plush unicorn for my daughter and the Kinder Chocolate Mini Eggs that my son hasn't stopped talking about since seeing at the store. (You can bet this mama is stocking up on some for herself, too.)

At the same time, Easter as a parent has opened my eyes to how much effort can be required...

There is the selection of the right Easter outfits for picture-perfect moments.

There is the styling of custom Easter baskets.

There is the filling of plastic eggs and strategic placement of them throughout the yard.

But when the cameras are put away and we all join together around the table for the family dinner at the end of the day, I can finally take a deep breath and really enjoy—especially with the knowledge that doing the dishes is my husband's job.

This article was sponsored by Kinder. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.


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When the Centres for Disease Control (CDC) recommended Americans start using homemade cloth face masks to protect against the coronavirus parents had a lot of questions that were not addressed in the initial White House briefing announcing the change.

Here are the answers to some of the common questions about the CDC's face mask recommendations:

1. Do babies need masks?

No, babies under 2 years old should not wear masks, according to the CDC, as they can increase the risk of suffocation. The CDC's website states: "Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children younger than 2 years of age, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cover without assistance."

That is why experts at Nationwide Children's Hospital are asking the new cottage industry of mask makers to avoid marketing masks to parents of babies, writing: "These products (infant masks, masks attached to pacifiers, etc.) may pose more harm than benefit in terms of safety for children under the age of 2 years old."

FEATURED VIDEO

2. Does my child need to wear a mask to go outside?

It depends. If you've got an older child and you're hanging out in your own backyard a mask isn't necessary, but if you're taking your child on the bus or into a grocery store they are recommended.

The CDC wants people to wear masks when they are in a community setting, not to avoid catching COVID-19 but to avoid getting other people sick. "A cloth face covering is not intended to protect the wearer, but it may prevent the spread of virus from the wearer to others," the CDC's guidance notes.

Or, as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau put it this week, "it protects others more than it protects you because it prevents you from breathing or speaking moistly on them."

Because children do not seem to get as sick as adults when they have COVID-19 they can unknowingly be carriers. The best way to protect our kids and our communities is to keep our children home, but if you absolutely must take your child out into your community a mask can protect the vulnerable.

3. Does my child have to wear a mask if we go out?

In some parts of the United States, local governments are requiring citizens to wear masks when they leave their homes, but the CDC's statement on face masks is only a recommendation.

Some kids, especially preschool-age children, will not keep a mask on their face. If that's the case for your child, wearing one will increase the likelihood that they will touch their face. As experts recommend keeping hands away from faces, anything that's going to make your kid touch their face even more isn't a good idea.

For more information on how to create a DIY mask as per the CDC recomendations, click here.






News

I had heard about the wildly popular 10-step Korean skin care routine, but never considered it. I am a mom of three—the only thing in my life that I spend 10 steps on is getting my kids to bed at night. That, and I am really more of a wash-and-go kinda lady. I don't wear much makeup, never blow dry my hair and almost never have my nails done.

But a lesson I have learned in my life: When a stylish friend mentions that they are loving a new product or trend, pay attention.

So when my friend with the most gorgeous skin casually commented that he was using the 10-step Korean skin care, I not-so-casually decided to dive in and try it.

What I found was that I loved it 😍.

1. My skin has not looked this good in a long time.

I have sensitive combination skin that tends to look a bit dull, and I almost always have bags under my eyes from lack of sleep. After using this regiment for a few weeks, my face looks a lot brighter—dare I say even glowy at times—and, it's a lot easier to fake the "I got 8 hours of sleep last night" look.

2. It's not as time-consuming as I thought.

It turns out that you don't have to do all of the steps every day. For example, I only exfoliate a few times a week, and use a mask once a week. Most of the steps are quite fast!

3. It has become my self-care ritual.

This might be my favorite part. Right when I wake up, before the hectic time of the day, this routine forces me to take 3 to 5 minutes to myself—alone—taking care of me. I try to incorporate some deep breaths and mindfulness into the process, and it always elevates my mood. At bedtime, it is my wind-down. A chance to be nice to myself after spending a day (trying to be) nice to everyone else.

So, how in the world do you do the 10-step Korean skin care routine? Here's our step-by-step guide:

Step 1: Oil cleanser (Clean it zero)

Clean it zero

Different types of cleansers remove different things from your face. Starting with an oil cleanser helps to remove makeup, built-up oil and dead skin cells. I love this cleansing balm for this—it takes any makeup off completely, and doesn't burn my eyes at all, which happens with a lot of other products I've tried.

$17.70

 Step 2: Foam cleanser (Kiehl's ultra facial cleanser)

Kiehl's ultra facial cleanser

After an oil cleanser, water-based cleansers remove any remaining dirt and oil, helping your skin to be truly clean. Foam cleansers are great for fighting occasional breakouts, without drying out my skin. I love that it's formulated with squalane (that's filled with powerful anti-aging properties), apricot kernel oil, vitamin e and avocado oils that keep my face moisturized.

$21

Step 3: Exfoliate (Skinfood black sugar mask)

Skinfood black sugar mask

Exfoliating removes dead skin cells, leaving your skin looking brighter. It can also help with breakouts and it allows products to get deeper into your skin because those dead cells aren't in the way. The Skinfood Black Sugar Mask is grainy and awesome for eliminate blackheads and clogged pores.

$9.99

Step 4: Toner (Whamisa organic flower deep rich essence toner)

I had previously overlooked the power of adding a toner to my routine, but I am so glad I use it now. Toners balance the skin's pH, shrink pores, moisturize and help the products to absorb easier.

I chose Whamisa Organic Flowers Deep Rich Essence Toner based on the reviews, and it has not disappointed. It has a light fermented smell to it because it is made from fermented flowers, but my skin looks all dewy after I use it, and I have definitely noticed a difference in my pores.

$39.99

Step 5: Essence (Saturday Skin freeze frame beauty essence)

Saturday Skin freeze frame beauty essence

Soko Glam, a company dedicated to getting Korean skin care into the homes of women everywhere says that essence is the most essential step to skin care because it targets skin at the cellular level.

There are a ton of essences out there, so you'll have to spend some time looking for the one that meets your specific needs. Saturday Skin Freeze Frame Beauty Essence is super popular (and how cute is that bottle?).

$33

Step 6: Treatment (Bliss bright idea vitamin c + tri-peptide brightening serum)

Bliss bright idea vitamin c + tri-peptide brightening serum

Serums are also called treatments because they are meant to target a specific problem area. This vitamin C and tri-peptides duo works to boost skin's natural elasticity and defend from future free radical damage. YES to all of that. 🙌

$21.99

Step 7: Sheet mask (Missha super aqua snail hydro-gel mask)

Missha super aqua snail hydro-gel mask

This is the most time-consuming part of the routine (you'll leave this on for around 15 minutes, depending on the brand), but you only have to do it one or two times per week.

I usually do this on a Sunday night, after the kids are in bed as a way to really unwind. Since I am new to this, I started with these because it was so inexpensive. And I have to say, I am loving Missha's super aqua snail hydro-gel mask. It has snail extract, but it's not as gross as it sounds. It works hard to fight redness, dark and dull skin.It also wards off dryness which is great when the weather is super drying.

Pro-tip: DO NOT go into your kid's room, in the dark, with this mask on your face, unless you are ready to share your bed with a terrified toddler for the night.

$4.20

Step 8: Eye cream (Edible beauty gold rush eye balm)

Edible beauty gold rush eye balm

Next, you'll care for the delicate skin around your eyes. When you apply eye cream, always pat it on gently with your ring finger—never rub—in an effort to be as gentle as possible. This eye cream is a favorite because it hydrates and fights fine lines that are trying very hard to creep onto my face.

$65

Step 9: Moisturizer (Algenist regenerative anti-aging moisturizer)

Algenist Regenerative Anti-Aging Moisturizer

The next step is applying a moisturizer to lock in the products and keep skin hydrated all day. Algenist regenerative anti-aging moisturizer is substantial enough to really hydrate my skin, but doesn't leave it greasy. I also love that the alguronic acid, combined with vitamin C helps smooth my overall skin texture.

$94.00

Step 10: Sunscreen (Bare Republic mineral SPF 70 face sunscreen lotion)

Mineral SPF 70 face sunscreen lotion

Last, but absolutely positively not least, is sunscreen. Applying sunscreen to your face every day is the number one way to prevent signs of aging (and of course, keep your skin healthy). In an effort to reduce steps, I started using this product and the sheer finish is enriched with antioxidant-rich hydrators that doesn't look chalky. I have been raving about it ever since.

$14.99

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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The world feels so heavy right now.

Moments throughout the day I feel like there's an elephant sitting on my chest. Pushing down, into my heart, breaking it piece by piece.

Like there's a water fountain behind my eyes. Forcing water out of my face in the form of tears rolling down my cheeks.

Like there's a ticker in my mind wondering when the next freak out will come. Counting down the seconds to panic...

What will be next?

This weekend, I was scrolling through social media when I saw my sister tagged me in a Tiger King meme that made me laugh so hard I nearly peed myself.

FEATURED VIDEO

And then I laughed some more. Thinking of how ridiculous that show is and how ridiculous life feels right now. Like how my 2-year-old keeps running around without her diaper on and how Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and Airheads have basically become a food group for me at this point.

Because there are no rules anymore. There's very little structure. Routine? Yeahhh, that's pretty much gone, too.

And I need to laugh about that.

Because if I don't laugh, I might break.

And I can't break.

So I'm laughing. (Right now, anyway.)

This time of the coronavirus will remind me of a lot of sadness—sadness I don't even want to get into right now. But it will also remind me of happy things and silly things. Ridiculous things and outrageous things.

Like, it will remind me not only of Tiger King and eating more candy than I did that really successful Halloween in sixth grade, but also of making homemade pasta together as a family while my husband and I snuck pieces of the dough and our children got themselves covered in so much flour they looked like the guy from the movie Powder.

It'll remind me of TikTok and learning the "I'm a Savage" dance in the bathroom at 2 am because I couldn't sleep (true story, because… well, I am in fact a savage).

It'll remind me of diving so hardcore into the Upper East Side world of Gossip Girl because after finishing Tiger King, I needed to be transported to another world that is not the strange new one I am currently living in 24/7.

It'll remind me of, quite possibly my most outrageous online shopping purchase to date—an inflatable hot tub. (Here's to $100—and free shipping!—attempting to buy me a sliver of happiness.)

It'll remind me of rolling my eyes at my husband while I listen to my kindergartener tell her teacher and classmates how she's been "playing with makeup and sleeping a lot" during her Zoom call.

It'll remind me of the stress I felt, then giggled at while scheduling more virtual meetings and appointments for my 4-year-old than I ever have as a work-from-home mom. "Sorry, they can't take your FaceTime at 11 am because of her livestream zoo visit. How's noon for you?"

It'll remind me of commiserating with my cousin all the way in Ireland—about all of the same things because we're basically in the same exact situation as each other no matter the time or professional or lifestyle differences.

It'll remind me of chatting with one of my siblings in the Houseparty app then all of our other siblings descending into the call one by one to just shoot the breeze for the five hundredth time in one day. To talk about nothing, and do nothing—together.

It'll remind me of trying to watch Palm Sunday mass online with our kids while the picture is sideways on the TV because we can't get the iPhone mirroring app to work correctly, two children are half-naked, one child is loudly chomping on Pirates Booty and I'm sipping coffee on the couch in my pajamas.

It'll remind me of my husband's panicked face when my 2-year-old bursts into our "office" (bedroom) chanting "Frozen 2! Frozen 2!" during a team call that he was not muted on.

It'll remind me of tagging each other in and out of our work days like a blurry relay race, shuffling laptops and keyboards every which way, inside and outside, in this room then that room, saying, "You good?" before we make coffee to chug and take our turn to get quiet, child-free work done.

It'll remind me of our kindergartener losing her second tooth and rummaging through the house for cash—because we never have any on hand—and celebrating when we finally found a dollar to leave(!), which we then forgot to leave(!), and ultimately had to do some backtracking and CIA level recon to salvage the situation.

It'll remind me of tortilla chips and queso being considered an acceptable lunch for myself. Of my new hobby that is baking bread and then eating the whole loaf. Of friends driving by with signs, saying hi from the road. Of YouTube art videos for kids being considered "art class." Of the constant wonder how we can still be generating laundry when we all seem to be wearing the same exact clothes every day like we're Doug Funny.

Of weirdness. Of sadness. Of togetherness. Of happiness. Of wild worry and love and insanity, all rolled into one.

Of a strange time in history that we'll tell our grandchildren about.

The tough time in our lives where—a convict who really loved tigers, a boatload of candy (and, okay, other groceries, too) delivered by the great and essential postal and delivery workers, choreographed dance videos on an app called TikTok, funny memes of the cluster that is working from home/caring for children/homeschooling/cooking/cleaning, and healthcare worker superheroes—got us through.

Because we will get through this. And a little laughter will help. 💓

Life

A few short weeks ago, I started singing "You Are My Sunshine" to my baby each night before bed. I want my baby to recognize my voice when they arrive in June.

A few short weeks ago, my biggest concerns were around finding and researching the "perfect" baby products, making it to a prenatal yoga class and lathering on belly butter to prevent stretch marks.

A few short weeks ago, I was lucky to be surrounded by my family members eagerly telling them to place their hands on my belly so they could feel the baby move. I wanted to share my joy with them, the first grandchild on either side of our family, and I worried not everyone would get a chance to feel the baby's movements.

FEATURED VIDEO

Today, I am worried—like most mothers—about how we will get groceries safely next week without being exposed to COVID-19. I have never felt fearful of physically being in our local grocery stores, until now, and it feels strange. The dramatic changes brought on because of the pandemic have left me feeling like the world is spinning.

Suddenly everything I was looking forward to has been stripped away—canceled birth classes, hospital tours, baby showers, maternity photos, haircuts (okay, I know this isn't that important but I desperately wanted to get a haircut before my baby comes!) and a gift card for a prenatal massage that will sadly go unused.

I can't even easily purchase diapers or wipes for my baby—something that I assumed would always be accessible. I feel unprepared.

And I've been having a repetitive nightmare of being separated from my baby after giving birth because I have contracted COVID-19. Even worse—I fear the hospital will be so full there is no room for me and my baby in case we need medical intervention.

Yes, I know this may not actually happen, but as a first-time mom paired with the uncertainty of the world right now, I am feeling frightened. I'm searching for a sense of normalcy wherever I can find it. Today I was Googling "absolute necessities for a newborn" to see if there was anything I could purchase to simply make me feel better.

All of the prenatal podcasts I've listened to and pregnancy books I've read have one piece of advice in common—find community and support. The message is clear and repetitive: "Connect with other mamas in your birth class", "Ask for help", "Make a chore list for people to help when they come to visit", "Find support", "Remember, you are not alone!"

But now, I, like many other pregnant-during-a-global-pandemic mothers, am feeling alone.

Who knows when it will be safe for my family to see me again? I may not be pregnant anymore, and they may not meet their grandchild until they are a few months old.

I know that our situation could be much, much worse. I often feel angry at myself for even grieving the pregnancy I've dreamed of and lost when others are suffering so deeply. I am acutely aware of the pain happening in the world and feel it to the deepest core of my being. As an empath, the emotions of others affect me tremendously. So much so in fact that at my last prenatal visit my blood pressure was the highest it has ever been.

It's exceedingly difficult to feel excited about the new life I'm bringing into the world when the world currently seems so turbulent and full of pain.

But when it comes down to it, no matter what else is going on, I can't deny that I'm sad. I am so, so sad. Sad for all of the first-time moms whose realities have changed similarly to mine. Sad for the partners who cannot be at their prenatal visits or births. Sad for the healthcare workers and nurses working the front lines. Sad for everyone experiencing loss.

I've even found myself thinking Did we choose the wrong time to have this baby? Why is this happening now?

But what I've come to realize is that actually, now is a perfect time. This baby is teaching me every day to grow stronger than I ever knew was possible. They're teaching me to sit in stillness. To sit with my feelings—no matter how big or small, how heavy or complicated. To slow down and breathe. To never take these special moments for granted.

I still sing "You Are My Sunshine" each night, but with greater emotion and purpose than I've ever felt before. This baby has become my literal beacon of light. My sunshine on these cloudy days.

And even though everything has changed, I have faith that the sun will come out... eventually.

Life
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